John and Kathleen Fosmire have offered their hair salon in Santa Ynez as a drop-off point for Operation Christmas Child.
The Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church and Santa Ynez Valley Mothers of Preschoolers (SYV MOPS) are also hosting their own drive this year.
Operation Christmas Child was started in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales, after they watched a broadcast on Romania, which had recently been devastated by war.
This was the beginning of the Christmas gift program that was adopted by Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse in 1993.
Samaritan’s Purse serves people in need, both domestically and internationally, who need help after floods, fire, heart surgery, disaster, famine or war.
Last year the Fosmires, who own John Patrick Hair Design in Santa Ynez, filled up nine trucks with medical supplies, food, clothing and Christmas. Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 124 million boxes worldwide.
The boxes are distributed all over the globe via cargo planes and ultimately shuttled by any form of transportation that works, which may include motorcycles, kayaks, bicycles, horses, elephants, donkeys, yaks or other animals, or carried by locals on foot.
These shoe boxes are life-changing because of the recipients’ levels of poverty. Filled with staples, hygiene items, gifts and a special note from the giver, they also provide great joy.
Empty boxes can be picked up at the salon, and filled boxes must be returned to John Patrick’s Salon at 3669 Sagunto St. # 104 by Friday, Nov. 17.
Packing guidelines, touching stories and other additional information can be seen at samaritanspurse.org.
People interested in providing gifts can contact John Patrick’s Hair Design in Santa Ynez from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the salon at 688-9889.